Salmonella, E. coli O157, Listeria, Campylobacter

US interagency group to improve foodborne illness source attribution estimates for major pathogens

By Heidi Parsons

- Last updated on GMT

Listeria monocytogenes (pictured above) is one of four major foodborne pathogens targeted by IFSAC.
Listeria monocytogenes (pictured above) is one of four major foodborne pathogens targeted by IFSAC.

Related tags: Foodborne illness, Escherichia coli, Fsis

The US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are hosting a public meeting next month to update stakeholders on work to improve foodborne illness source attribution. 

At the February 24 meeting, the Interagency Food Safety Analytics Collaboration (IFSAC) will report on what it has done to develop harmonized foodborne illness source attribution estimates for Salmonella, E. coli O157, Listeria, and Campylobacter.

IFSAC members will also discuss other analyses the group has performed since it was formed in 2011. “This work can assist in the development of food safety strategies,”​ an FSIS spokesperson said.

The agencies are also seeking input from stakeholders to assist in planning for future IFSAC endeavors, and the meeting will provide a forum for that input. The meeting is scheduled from 8.30am to 5pm EST at the Jefferson Auditorium in the USDA’s South Building.

Purpose

IFSAC’s goal is to improve coordination of federal food safety analytical efforts and to look at cross-cutting priorities for food safety data collection, analysis and use, an FSIS spokesperson said. The group’s current focus is foodborne illness source attribution — that is, estimating the most common food sources of specific foodborne illnesses.

“Federal agencies and food safety experts rely on attribution studies to influence strategic planning and risk-based decision-making, support development of regulations, and conduct risk assessments​,” the FSIS spokesperson said. “By bringing together data from CDC, FDA, FSIS, and other sources, and by developing sound analytical methods, IFSAC can improve estimates of the sources of foodborne illness.”

From the start

For the past four years, IFSAC has worked on a number of analytic projects to advance knowledge, methods, and data associated with foodborne illness attribution. The group held its first public meeting in January 2012, where it presented the IFSAC Strategic Plan. Details are available here.

IFSAC has also hosted two public webinars on results of existing projects. Related materials are available on the IFSAC public website​.

There is no fee to attend the February 24 public meeting. However, attendees must be pre-registered for the meeting (and check-in onsite the day of the meeting) and show a valid photo ID to enter the building. For those unable to attend in person, a live webcast of the meeting will be available.

Related topics: Food safety and labeling

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